Localism Bill

Memorandum submitted by Jessica Sim (L 159)

The potential effects of abolishing security of tenure for social tenants are very damaging. My story is I believe a case in point.

After a divorce years ago I had difficulty paying my mortgage and was luckily offered social housing. Soon after moving I realised that because of the social rent it would in fact be worth my while working (I am a trained nurse) even as a single parent, because my rent was low enough to mean some of my earnings would be left to live on. In the private accommodation I had looked at I  had realised that I would be doing stressful shift work and struggling to find child care in order to be left with the same standard of living as that I'd have if housing benefit paid all my rent instead of me, because rents are so high. To get an affordable secure home was a great incentive to pursue my career. I also spent a great deal of time and money improving my council home and garden (all in a shockingly derelict state on arrival) and getting involved in my community association to improve the area, knowing that we could stay.

People in the same situation after this bill is passed will not be this lucky, I suppose they will have to give up work and have more children if they want to stay in their affordable  home. The party that brought us 'right to buy' now wants 'forced to move'. Why shouldn't people be able to have some money left to live on after they have paid for their housing ?
What if the people who are kicked out lose their job or get fed up being hardly better off working? Back on housing benefit , back in the queue, the bill will be enormous. Families have a better chance if they have a secure place to live. Moving people on does not solve a shortage of housing. It does not feel good at all thinking you will might have to move any day. This government cannot have long in power at a local or national level with policies like this. This part of the bill must surely go, even Tory councillors are rejecting it, surely that is another humiliation the government cannot afford.

March 2011